Amy Keyishian

Birthday Cake: Buy It vs. Make It

birthday cake recipeI’ve only been a mom for five years, but I’ve already run the gamut of possible birthday cakes. One year, my stepson said that he wanted a wedding cake, but a butterscotch one, so I bought three concentric round pans and made the weirdest-looking thing ever to hold a #10 candle. That was the same year I made marshmallow fondant so my daughter’s cupcakes would look like Minnie Mouse. Everything was tasty!


The next year, I fell down on the job and did “the Costco birthday”: a whopper box of chicken nuggets, a crate of Pirate’s Booty and an enormous cake that had little individual flowers dotted all over it.


Honestly, both years were huge successes.


I’ve settled on two favorite recipes to replace boxed cake mix — I cannot be bothered with box mix, though I have to admit I’m happy when my friends use it. I mean, there are just too many fun recipes that call for a box of cake mix. Friends kept recommending the one commonly referred to as “depression cake,” but I was dubious because, I mean, no eggs? No milk? How could that be better? But a taste test revealed that indeed, it made the best chocolate cake, while a similarly simple yellow cake recipe is as simple as finding the baking aisle on a Saturday.


Pro tip: I have a friend who makes the most genius birthday cake. She uses a jelly roll pan to make three sheet cakes, then she piles them up, one on top of the other, with frosting in all the usual places. It serves a pint-sized army, and it’s adorable.


Both cakes come out to about $4 when made at home — unless you get super-duper fancy cocoa powder. Then it’s gonna be more, but is it gonna be more than store-bought cake or a box mix? Let’s take a look.




It costs about $4 to make a cake, which makes it the same price as boxed mix (in some cases, twice as much). However, it’s a fraction of the cost for a cake from a bakery, even the Costco bakery.




It’s easy to buy a cake, but it’s not easier to make a cake from a boxed cake mix than it is to make the recipes above. You can do this.




I can’t lie, homemade cake is better




Just make it. Unless you have a really great bakery and you’re a billionaire.



What’s the verdict? Check out all Amy’s Buy It vs. Make It comparisons!


6 Responses to “Birthday Cake: Buy It vs. Make It”

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